The South African writer and film-maker Lidudumalingani has won the 2016 Caine Prize for African writing, one of the most prestigious prizes for the continent’s authors.
Lidudumalingani was announced as the winner of the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for his short story entitled ‘Memories We Lost’ published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You
Lidudumalingani is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. He was born in the Eastern Cape province in South Africa, in a village called Zikhovane. Lidudumalingani has published short stories, non-fiction and criticism in various publications. His films have been screened at a number of film festivals. He is the third South African to win this prestigious prize, after Mary Watson (2006) and Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008).
His winning story, “Memories We Lost,” explores mental health through the relationship of two sisters in a South African village, one of whom is schizophrenic and the other her protector. The sister’s situation deteriorates as her care is entrusted to Nkunzi, a local man who employs traditional techniques to rid people of their demons.
In a conversation with The Daily Vox, Lidudumalingani touched on the inspiration for the story. “The first might have been mental illness, or at least the way in which villagers speak and deal with it. Then there were conversations with friends, texts and visuals that suddenly were on my radar, memories of extended family members who struggled with mental illness – many of them on and off and at varying degrees.”
As the winner of the Caine Prize, Lidudumalingani will be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a Writer-in-Residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. Furthermore, he will be invited to speak at the Library of Congress, andbe invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, Storymoja in Nairobi and Ake Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria.
Last year the Caine Prize was won by Zambian writer Namwali Serpell. Namwali is an associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley English department. Her first book of literary criticism, Seven Modes of Uncertainty, was published in 2014. Since winning the Caine Prize, the world rights to Namwali’s first book of fiction, The Old Drift, were pre-empted and it will be published by Hogarth in the US and Chatto and Windus in the UK.
You can read Lidudumalingani’s winning story in full here.